OTTAWA, Ontario — Just when the Ottawa Senators look as if they’re done, they find a way to keep going. They’ve plowed through injuries, deficits and blowouts just to keep their season alive another day.
Facing elimination, they did it once again in beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals, this time wiping out an early deficit to push the Penguins to their second elimination game of the postseason.
How it happened: A monster shot from forward Mike Hoffman gave the Senators their first lead of the game, ripping a shot just 1 minute, 34 seconds into the third period that beat Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
The only reason the score was tied at that point was because Senators goalie Craig Anderson turned in his best performance of the series. He made 45 saves, including a number on Sidney Crosby, who had a few good looks that Anderson turned aside. The only goal Anderson gave up was an incredible individual effort from Evgeni Malkin, who grabbed his own rebound and then went to the backhand to beat Anderson. Otherwise, Anderson was perfect, more than making up for the struggles in Game 5 that led to his early exit.
Power-play breakthrough: It took a two-man advantage, but the Senators finally scored a power-play goal, their first of the series. Bobby Ryan’s quick release on a one-timer beat Murray in the second period and gave the Senators their first power-play goal since Game 1 against the New York Rangers on April 27.
Controversy: For a few minutes, it looked as if a Penguins defenseman would open the scoring for the third consecutive game when Trevor Daley banged the puck past Anderson following a scramble in front of the net without a whistle. Daley was wrestling in the crease with Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson and made contact with Anderson before scoring the goal. Senators coach Guy Boucher wisely challenged, putting the call in the hands of the referee and Toronto video room. It was determined that Daley interfered with Anderson, a borderline call but enough to wipe out an early Penguins lead.
What’s next: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals is Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh.